The Faculty of Education’s Practicum Office hosted its 10th annual Thank-you Luncheon for community organizations on May 8. The event offered a way for the Faculty to thank its partners for their ongoing support of the community practicum. Representatives from a number of organizations attended the event, which was held at Black Creek Pioneer Village.
“We wanted to take this opportunity to thank our many community partners for their ongoing support of our teacher candidates,” said Marcela Duran, community practicum coordinator in the Faculty of Education. “We hope that the learning opportunities that these organizations provide for our BEd students will have an impact on the way they develop their future teaching practices.”
Now in its 10th year, the Faculty of Education’s community practicum provides teacher candidates in the concurrent BEd program with experiential education through a 50-hour field experience placement with a community organization or an education-related, non-governmental organization. By participating in appropriate activities designed by the organizations, students support the organizations and gain insight into the kinds of learning and advocacy that contribute to the well-being of society.
“The changing reality of Canadian society and its large, urban communities told us of the need to give our teacher candidates a better understanding of the complexities of the communities that students come from,” said Duran. “Through the community practicum, we envision teacher candidates developing an understanding of the range of cultures within a school and its geographical areas; an understanding of a child’s, adolescent’s and adult’s everyday life in a community; and a sensitivity to cultural and community perspectives.”
Since its inception, approximately 120 organizations have worked in partnership with the Faculty. This past year, more than 45 different organizations participating in the community practicum provided teacher candidates with a diverse range of locations and opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. One such organization is the Upfront Theatre Foundation, a service learning non-profit organization serving children, students, youth and women in the Jane and Finch community and surrounding areas.
“We offer a number of programs such as our Gender Violence program, Homework Club and After School program, all that expose York teacher candidates to the realities of the community,” said Masani Montague, executive director at Upfront Theatre Foundation. “Our focus on the arts provides teacher candidates with the opportunity to work with local high school students to produce theatrical productions, plan festivals, and organize programs and activities that will contribute to the development of the cultural mosaic of Canada and the global culture.”
Many teacher candidates say they have considered the community practicum to be an effective way of understanding the complexity of the world and society in addition to their classroom-based academic knowledge.
“The Massey Centre for Women is a space of empowerment,” said one teacher candidate. “I love that they offer a second chance for the girls and that the place is flexible enough to provide all that the girls need to be a mother and a student. Coming in as a teacher candidate, I loved it. I got to help teach the girls one-on-one, help build a space of empowerment and listen to the girls’ stories.”